Bred in Ireland and raced for two seasons in France, Northern Spur was an amazingly consistent turf performer that raced exclusively on grass. After two seasons in Europe he was turned over to the care of Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally. Northern Spur ran third in his U.S. debut and then had a rough ride in the Grade 1 Arlington Million and lost all chance. He redeemed himself with a driving victory on the Grade 1 Oak Tree Stakes in his next outing prior to the Breeders’ Cup.
Always showing a preference for a soft grass course, the rain-soaked Breeders’ Cup Turf played into his hand. Jockey Chris McCarron stalked Turkpasser and took the lead into the stretch and was soon engaged in a hard-fought challenge with Freedom Cry in what track announcer Tom Durkin would describe as, “A test of stamina to the wire!”